Jerry Jones was in tears after the Dallas Cowboys’ loss to the Buffalo Bills. A Philadelphia Eagles fan burned his Carson Wentz jersey and called for the quarterback to retire following the team’s loss against the Miami Dolphins. Giants coach Pat Shurmur, who is 7-21 across two seasons, faced questions about his job after New York fell to the Green Bay Packers.
The Washington Redskins? They won, but improved their draft position in the process.
Week 13 wasn’t the best showing from the NFC East.
Scratch that: The first 13 weeks of the season haven’t been the best showing from the NFC East.
With a month left, the Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins and Giants have combined for a .333 winning percentage — on pace to be the worst division in the NFL history. The division has a combined record of 16-32 record, topped by the 6-6 Cowboys.
According to Pro Football Talk, the worst division in NFL history was the 2008 NFC West, which went a combined 22-42 (.342). That year, the Arizona Cardinals finished 9-7, but the San Francisco 49ers (7-9) Seattle Seahawks (4-12), St. Louis Rams (2-14) all finished below .500.
Remarkably, the Cardinals actually made the Super Bowl that season, falling short to the Pittsburgh Steelers after Santonio Holmes hauled in a game-winning six-yard grab with 35 seconds left.
At this point, it would be a miracle if any of the teams from this year’s NFC East went on to make the Super Bowl. Each squad has fundamental flaws, and so far, they’ve been unable to overcome them.
Dallas, for instance, seems to have a coaching problem. After 10 years at the helm, Jason Garrett’s seat is hotter than its ever been as the coach has faced intense scrutiny for his conservative approach in key moments. Even Jones, usually an unabashed supporter of Garrett, has criticized the Cowboys for being out-coached in recent weeks and cryptically said Tuesday that “Jason Garrett will be coaching in the NFL next year.” Note that Jones’ statement did not specify for which team.
In Philadelphia, the Eagles’ depth isn’t as strong as experts thought when they were a trendy preseason Super Bowl pick. The team never recovered from losing speedy wideout DeSean Jackson for the season, and Wentz’s other receivers have disappointed. On defense, the Eagles’ secondary is depleted and Philadelphia ranks 19th in defensive efficiency.
The Redskins and Giants, on the other hand, can be lumped together. With roster talent lacking, each club’s margin for error was slim — and unsurprisingly, they’ve failed more often than not.
Despite the problems, someone will win the division and thus make the playoffs — except for the New York Giants, who are eliminated with a 2-10 record.
But yes, even the 3-9 Redskins are still mathematically alive for the playoffs.
“For us, we’ve just got to handle our business in front of us,” Redskins linebacker Jon Bostic said. “And we’ve got to let the rest of it kind of take care of itself.”
Taking care of itself is an understatement.
Sure, the Redskins would draft third if the season ended today — and yes, no team ever that has started the year 3-9 has made the postseason, historically — but all Washington needs is for the following to happen: It needs to win out, the Cowboys lose out and Eagles go 1-3 down the stretch (with its only win coming against the Dallas Cowboys). That way, the Redskins would finish 7-9, while the other two would come up short at 6-10.
If the unlikely were to happen, the Redskins would become just the second team in NFL history to make the postseason at 7-9. The first? The 2010 Seattle Seahawks.
That squad, you might recall, actually upset the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Wild Card when running back Marshawn Lynch unleashed the “Beast Quake” — sealing the game with a 67-yard touchdown in which the running back bulldozed through multiple defenders and stiff-armed Tracy Porter. The Seahawks, too, didn’t clinch the playoffs until a Week 17 win over the Rams.
Those Seahawks, however, were 6-6 heading into Week 14 — far from Washington’s 3-9.
“We’ve just got to keep getting better week in and week out,” Bostic said.
Even then, that probably won’t be enough.
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